The American Affluence Research Center (AARC) said 80 percent of the 398 affluent men and women surveyed nationwide in its latest “Affluent Mar-ket Tracking Study” (www.affluenceresearch.org ) reported a net worth of $1 million or more and 37 percent reported investable assets of $1 million or more. With the survey representing the 11.2 million affluent households classified as the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. households in the latest Federal Reserve Board research, AARC calculates that 9.1 million households can be considered millionaires, with 4.2 million of them having investable assets of $1 million or more. The study shows these millionaires have an average income of $356,000, a primary residence with an average value of $1.2 million, an average net worth of $3.5 million and an average of $1.7 million in investable assets.
A Rand Corp. study found that women-owned small businesses were underrepresented in more than half of the industry categories studied for federal purchasing during 2002, 2003 and 2005. It also found that when the dollar value of the same federal contracts was the measurement standard, there was little evidence women-owned small businesses were underrepresented. Con-tracting by women-owned businesses has not yet reached the target set by Congress of 5 percent of prime and subcontract contract dollars for each industry category. Women-owned small businesses accounted for 3.3 percent of the totals in 2005, the last year studied. The study, titled “The Utilization of Women-Owned Small Businesses in Federal Contracting,” was conducted for the U.S. Small Business Administration and is available at www.rand.org .
God and Health
Researchers at Brown University are developing programs for Black women that emphasize improving health as a pathway to better serving God. Several studies have concluded that the all-about-you mentality of mainstream diet programs doesn’t resonate with Black women, whose focus lies in strengthening their families, communities and churches. The researchers are working on a 12-month SisterTalk program for distribution to at least 30 state health departments. SisterTalk, modeled on research by Brown University, uses the experiences and teachings of Jesus Christ and other Bible figures to provide support for healthy living. It emphasizes healthy habits for women of all sizes and body types, rather than specific numbers on the scale or dress sizes.
The Advertising Council and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) launched a series of public service advertisements designed to continue encouraging financial support of minority education. UNCF says the high cost of college and the lack of financial assistance are the major reasons that students don't enter or complete college. The new PSA campaign, created pro bono by Young & Rubicam, includes television, radio, print, and outdoor advertising. By highlighting the leadership and accomplishments of important African-Americans inventions and innovations, the new work asks potential donors to consider the impact of minority education on their own lives and, “Support minority education today, so we don't miss out on the next big idea tomorrow.”
The National Urban League’s annual State of Black America report declares that problems facing Black men represent America’s most serious social crisis and proposes an aggressive campaign to provide them with more opportunities. The organization called for universal early-childhood education, more second-chance programs for school dropouts and ex-offenders and expanded use of all-male schools emphasizing mentoring and longer class hours. Bright spots for Blacks of both genders include the improved readiness level of children entering elementary school. However, the report cited a widening gap after elementary school as blacks begin to fall behind on standardized tests.
Law Enforcement Suit
Black and Hispanic members of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan accusing the MTA of permitting its supervisors to exercise “unbridled discretion to deny African Americans and Hispanics opportunities for career advancement and equal earning opportunities while allowing for them to create a racially charged and hostile work environment.” The lawsuit asked for an order banning the MTA from discriminatory actions, along with $8 million in damages. It said the MTA responded to complaints by denying promotions and training, by assigning officers to menial tasks and demeaning jobs, or by denying them access to overtime, the lawsuit said. The MTA promised to thoroughly review the legal documents and respond as appropriate.
Black business owners in Louisville, Ky., say a city blockade in their neighborhood keeps them from sharing in the $200 million poured into the local economy on the weekend of the Kentucky Derby. The shutdown of a portion of Broadway—a downtown thoroughfare just a few miles from the derby—targets a predominantly Black area, business owners said. The business owners filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to ban the shutdown, but the court ruled it would stand. Louisville police began the blockade to discourage the thousands of shiny, souped-up cars and revelers that flocked to the area to hang out and be seen. The unofficial tradition brought a boon to neighborhood businesses but culminated in violence two years ago.
Following widespread denouncement and the firing of radio shock jock Don Imus for referring to the Black members of Rutgers University’s women’s basketball team in derogatory, Roberts Broadcasting Cos. L.L.C., of St. Louis, Mo., banned programming and music lyrics that it deems violent, sexist and racist. Brothers Michael and Steven Roberts operate a multifaceted business that includes an aviation company, shopping centers, hotels, construction firms and residential developments. The broadcasting unit includes four television stations—WRBU in St. Louis, WZRB in Columbia, S.C., WAZE in Evansville, Ind., and WRBJ in Jackson, Miss. The company also operates WRBJ-FM, a hip-hop station in Jackson.
Film Competition Deadline
Film submissions for consideration for the 2007 American Black Film Festival are being accepted through July. Submission forms, deadlines and eligibility criteria are available online at www.abff.com . The festival seeks to strengthen the Black-filmmaking community through resource sharing, education, artistic collaboration and career development. Since the festival’s inception in 1997, more than 400 independent films have been screened, 70 percent of which have gone on to secure theatrical or DVD distribution.
Economy Drivers Index
Hoover’s Inc. launched a free proprietary monthly index of public and private companies, non-profits and associations that represent the brand leaders, up-and-comers and “buzz” creators driving the U.S. and international economies. The new Hoover’s Index, (www.hooversindex.com  ), expands and replaces The Hoover’s 100 list.
GLOBAL BUSINESS - Market Access
The European Union proposed removing all remaining quota and tariff limitations for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries trying to access its market. The plan will give to the ACP group the same access that all least developed countries have under the EU's “Everything But Arms” duty and quota-free market access system. The offer, which could kick in next January, covers all products, including agricultural goods, and will apply immediately following the signing of an agreement, with a phase-in period for rice and sugar. Goods produced by U.S. companies in ACP countries will benefit from the new access to the EU.